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Name: People v. Coleman
Case #: B186264
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/23/2007

Ortega’s employer hung the keys to his personal vehicle in a closet while he was at work. Ortega had access to the closet, but was not responsible for the keys. Coleman entered the work place, pointed a gun at Ortega, and demanded her employer’s keys. Ortega gave Coleman the keys. Coleman was later convicted of carjacking as well as robbery. On appeal, Coleman contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the carjacking conviction because the victim did not have actual or constructive possession of the vehicle. The appellate court reversed the conviction. The purpose of Penal Code section 215 is not served by applying it under these circumstances, where the victim’s only connection to her employer’s stolen car was her ability to access the keys. Section 215 is intended to protect persons in vulnerable situations from the increased potential for harm. Since the victim here was not exposed to that kind of harm, it would be an unwarranted extension of the statute to conclude appellant’s actions constituted carjacking.